James, 2nd Marquess of Douglas


JAMES DOUGLAS, 2ND MARQUESS OF DOUGLAS (1646—1700), succeeded his grandfather in 1660.


James Douglas, 2nd Marquess of Douglas (c.1646 – 25 February 1700) was the son of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus and 1st Earl of Ormonde, and Lady Anne Stuart.  He succeeded his grandfather in 1660

He was a privy councillor to Kings Charles II and James VII.


His first marriage was in 1670 to the Lady Barbara Erskine, daughter of John Erskine, 20th Earl of Mar and Jean Mackenzie. He later married Mary Kerr, daughter of Robert Kerr, 1st Marquess of Lothian and Lady Jean Campbell.

The story of the end of the marriage between James Douglas and Barbara Erskine is immortalized in the popular ballad Waly Waly, which is known by many alternative titles (e.g. Jamie Douglas, When Cockleshells Turn Silver Bells, Water Is Wide) with many alternative lyrics and melodies. If the lyrics are to be believed, in 1681 a rumour apparently was put to Douglas by Lowrie of Blackwood that Erskine had been sleeping with another man, and Douglas promptly dropped her. Her father took her home and she never remarried.

The Marquis of Douglas, a young man, after being engaged for marriage with the daughter of one Widow Jack, a taverner at Perth, was wedded at Aba House to Lady Barbara Erskine, daughter of the Earl of Mar.—Lam.

This was an unfortunate marriage for the lady. The marquis, a man of profligate conduct, was subsequently led by his factor, Lowrie of Blackwood (said to have been a rejected suitor of the lady), to suspect his marchioness of infidelity, and they were consequently separated, after she had born him one child. The sorrows of the Marchioness of Douglas were described in a popular ballad of the day, some verses of which constitute the favourite song of Waly, waly!

‘O wherefore should I busk my head,
Or wherefore should I kaim my hair,
Since my true love has me forsook,
And says he‘ll never love me mair.
Now Arthur’s Seat shall be my bed,
The sheets shall ne’er be pressed by me,
St Anton’s Well shall be my drink,
Since my true love’s forsaken me.
O Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blaw,
And shake the green leaf aff the tree?
O gentle death, when wilt thou come,
And take a life that wearies me?’

The prose reality of all this was, that the marchioness by and by obtained a decree of the Privy Council, allowing her a provision out of her husband’s estate. The marquis, by a subsequent marriage, was the father of the semi-mad Duke of Douglas and of the celebrated Lady Jane Douglas.


His eldest son, John, by courtesy earl of Angus, raised a regiment of 1200 men, first known as the Angus regiment, later as the Cameronians (26th Foot). He was killed at its head at Steinkirk in 1692. 

The younger son, ARCHIBALD, 3RD MARQUESS (1694—1761), was created duke of Douglas in 1703, but the dukedom became extinct on his death, without heirs, in 1761. He was a consistent supporter of the Hanoverian cause, and fought at Sheriffmuir. The heir-presumptive to the Douglas estates was his sister, Lady Jane Douglas (1698—1753), who in 1746 secretly married Colonel, afterwards Sir, John Steuart of Grandtully, by whom she had twin sons, born in Paris in 1748. 

These children were alleged to be spurious, and when Lady Jane and the younger of the two boys died in 1753, the duke refused to acknowledge the survivor as his nephew; but in 1760 he was induced, under the influence of his wife, to revoke a will devising the estates to the Hamiltons in. favour of Lady Jane’s son, Archibald James Edward Steuart (1748—182 7), 1st baron Douglas of Douglas (cr. 1790) in the British peerage. The inheritance of the estates was disputed by the Hamiltons, representing the male line, but the House of Lords decided in favour of Douglas in 1769. Three of his sons succeeded Archibald Douglas as Baron Douglas, but as they left no male issue the title passed to the earls of Home, Cospatrick Alexander, 11th earl of Home, having married a granddaughter of Archibald, 1st Baron Douglas. Their descendants, the earls of Home, represent the main line of Douglas on the female side.

Transferred to the British service in 1669 and eventually known as the Royal Scots regiment.


He died 25th February 1700, in the 54th year of his age. His eldest son, James, earl of Angus, born in 1671, in 1689 raised for the service of the nation, in one day, a regiment of eighteen hundred men, now called the 26th foot or Cameronians, of which he was appointed colonel, 19th April of that year. After much active service he fell at the battle of Steinkirk 3d August 1692, in the 21st year of his age, unmarried. His half brother, William, also bore the title of earl of Angus, but died an infant in 1694. Archibald, the third son of the second marquis, succeeded as third marquis.

Father: Archibald (Earl Angus) Douglas
Mother: Anne Stuart b: 1614

Marriage 1 Barbara Erskine b: 1650, dau of 9th Lord Erskine
  • Married: 7 SEP 1670
  1. Has No Children James (Earl of Angus) Douglas b: 1671

Marriage 2 Mary Kerr b: 1673, dau of 1st Marquess of Lothian
  • Married: 13 DEC 1692
  1. Has No Children James Douglas,  Killed 3 AUG 1692 at Sterinkirk
  2. Has No Children William (Earl of Angus) Douglas b: 15 OCT 1693
  3. Has No Children Archibald (1st Duke of Douglas) Douglas b: 1694
  4. Has Children Jane (of Douglas) Douglas b: 17 MAR 1697/98

  5. Note:

    • 'Marquess' amd 'Marquiss' are used interchangeably. However, 'Marquess' is more common within the Douglas family.


    Help wanted - could you re-write this page?




    Sources for this article include:

    •  http://21.1911encyclopedia.org/D/DO/DOUGLAS_SIR_CHARLES.htm 


This page was last updated on 11 October 2021

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